A grand opening for the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center, at Paine Field will be 10 a.m.-noon, Thurs., June 3, 3008 100th SW, in Everett. Classes will begin in the center the following Monday.

“The training center will provide flexible and nimble training opportunities in manufacturing, avionics, and composites that meet the fast paced needs of the aerospace industry,” said center director of operations Larry Cluphf.

Last summer, under the direction of Aaron Reardon, workforce leaders in Snohomish County made it a priority to establish a coordinated statewide training center to address the aerospace industry’s changing technical requirements. In August, Edmonds Community College signed an agreement with the Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington to start a center. The work began with refurbishing 15,000 square feet in a building at Paine Field, developing curriculum, and installing computer labs and equipment.

The Boeing Co. donated $2.5 million of tools, materials, and equipment that will be used to teach classes in assembly mechanic, electrical, hydraulics, composites and quality assurance.

Since then, the center has received a $1,750,000 appropriation from Washington State (along with $400,000 and a land acquisition for the Spokane Aerospace Technology Center), a $600,000 federal appropriation, $450,000 of the governor’s Workforce Investment Act discretionary funds for its facility in Everett and $150,000 for Spokane, and a $250,000 Innovation Partnership Zone award from the Washington State Department of Commerce. Supporters, including Governor Gregoire and U.S. Representative Jay Inslee, will attend the opening of the center.

Now the center is ready to work directly with the state’s 650 aerospace companies to provide customized training on demand. These firms employ 120,000 workers in an industry that accounts for seven percent of statewide employment.

“Opening the center is a huge step for our industry and will provide great opportunities to promote and enhance the future of aerospace statewide,” said Linda Lanham, executive director of the Aerospace Futures Alliance.

The training the center provides, in partnership with community colleges and universities across the state and at its facilities in Everett and Spokane, will be driven by workforce supply and demand. Via the center, technical experts will provide short, hands-on, job-specific training to employees at convenient times.

The opening of the aerospace training center is the culmination of ongoing work to advocate and secure funding for support of Washington’s aerospace industry by the AFA, key elected officials, and partners in Snohomish County.

Edmonds Community College will provide center oversight and coordinate the delivery of training to serve the aerospace industry, in collaboration with Spokane Community College. The Aerospace Futures Alliance (AFA) will help connect the center’s activities to industry and advocate for additional resources as needed to aid in its success.

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